By Courtney Grogan
Pope Francis called for gestures of peace to oppose hatred and violence Sunday in the wake of attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
“To the grief for the wars and the conflicts that continue to afflict humanity, we have added that for the victims of the horrible attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand,” Pope Francis said March 17.
The pope asked all gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus prayer to join him in a moment of silent prayer for “our Muslim brothers” who were killed in New Zealand, and said that he will continue to pray the dead, the wounded, and their families. A total of 50 people were killed in Friday's shooting, and 34 of the injured remain in Christchurch Hospital.
Reflecting on the necessity and meaning of suffering, the pope said, “Each of us has his own cross. The Lord shows us at the end of our journey -- which is the Resurrection -- the beauty of carrying our own cross.”
“The Transfiguration of Christ shows us the Christian perspective of suffering,” Pope Francis said. “It is a necessary, but transitory passage.”
“By showing his glory, Jesus assures us that the cross, the trials, the difficulties in which we struggle have their solution and will be overcome in Easter,” he said.
The pope explained that in Christ's Transfiguration, Jesus granted his disciples Peter, James, and John a foretaste of the Resurrection shortly before his crucifixion.
“Jesus knew that they would not accept this reality - the reality of the cross, the reality of Jesus' death,” Francis said. “And so he wants to prepare them to bear the scandal of the passion and death of the cross, so that they will know that this is the way through which the Heavenly Father will bring his Son to glory, raising him from the dead.”
“And this will also be the path of the disciples: no one comes to eternal life except by following Jesus, bringing his own cross into earthly life,” he added.
Pope Francis recommended taking more time for prayer and moments of recollection during the Lenten season to allow Christ's “light to pervade and radiate in our lives.”
Through “prayer in Christ and in the Holy Spirit” a person can be transformed from within and “can illumine others and the surrounding world,” he said.
“The Virgin Mary teaches us to stay with Jesus even when we do not understand Him and do not understand His ways. Because only by remaining with Him will we see His glory,” Pope Francis said.